Both of my kids are in preschool two days a week, which means I get to each lunch all by myself. While I like eating with my kids, I have to admit I enjoy the break. But I have a lot to do when they are gone and have found that on some days my lunches are severely lacking.
So I’ve come up with some lunch ideas that are tasty, nutritious and filling the way I like. And none of them take more than 10 minutes to make.
1. Rejuvenated Leftovers: If there are leftovers food in the fridge, that’s where I start. Leftover taco meat becomes a taco salad. Roasted veggies get scrambled with some eggs and can be eaten with toast. Below is a meal I made with leftover rice and beans — I just added scrambled egg and cheese and topped with salsa and avocado!
2. Baked Potato: I used to eat baked potatoes all the time in my previous life so I have brought them back. All I do is wash the potato and poke both sides multiple times with a fork, then put it in the microwave for 2-4 minutes per side depending on its size. In the picture below, I added some cheese, cottage cheese and salsa. Leftover veggies would have been good too.
3. Tuna Salad: I try to keep some tuna in the fridge at all times as it makes the perfect quick sandwich. I use tuna with olive oil from Trader Joes and drain some of the oil first. I add one Tbsp. of plain low fat yogurt (can substitute mayo), one tsp of Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup chopped red onions, grated carrots, juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper to taste. If you don’t use tuna in oil, try added some olive oil to it to make it moist.
4. Mexican Eggs: We took a trip with other families a while ago and one of the husbands made a wonderful breakfast of Mexican Eggs. All he did was chop some red bell pepper, tomatoes and onions, sauté in oil until soft, add eggs and scramble, and top with some cheese. I usually have some beans in my fridge so I added those as well. When you are done, put the egg mixture in a tortilla and top with salsa, guacamole and/or avocado, and you will be heaven.
5. Everything But Salad: I am always pleasantly surprised what I can throw in a salad and have it still taste good. When making salads for dinner, I save some for my lunch the next day. To beef it up I add tuna, beans, chopped veggies, nuts, dried and regular chopped fruit and my favorite salad dressing. Eat it with some bread or starch of some kind and you have a complete meal!
So tell me, what do you eat for lunch when the kiddos are away?
I make my own frozen entrees! For example, I can cook a batch of chili while I cook dinner one night, then I freeze it in individual servings. If I’m home, I can microwave a serving for lunch, and if I plan to go out and don’t want to end up eating fast food, I can microwave it in the morning and carry it in a thermos, ready to eat. I also do that with pasta casseroles and other recipes. This way, I get the convenience of single-serve frozen entrees, with the quality of homemade cooking and serving sizes that are right for me. I also know that there is a real serving of veggies (e.g. green bell peppers, tomatoes and onions in my chili) in my meal, not just a few token greenish bits.